Rafeiro do Alentejo

The Rafeiro do Alentejo or Alentejo Mastiff, also called the Portuguese Mastiff, is a breed of dog that originated in Portugal. The Rafeiro do Alentejo is of the livestock guardian dog type, and the name refers to its area of origin, Alentejo, in south-central Portugal. The word rafeiro means mongrel in Portuguese.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Appearance

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a very large dog, averaging 47.5 kg (104.5 lb) and 73 cm (28.7 in) at the withers. The head is described as bear-like. Eyes should be dark, never yellow. The ears are set medium high and fold downwards. The dog has a deep chest, and should have a general aspect of length (not whippety, the standard says.)

The fur is short to medium, the same length all over, and can be black, yellow, and fawn (a light brown colour) with white markings, or white with other colours. The coat can be streaked or brindled or dappled.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Temperament

The breed standard describes the breed as "sober" (meaning "marked by seriousness, gravity, or solemnity of conduct"), his movement as slow and rolling, and as having a calm expression. Individual dogs may vary in behaviour and temperament, and puppies must be well socialized.

As with all very large dogs, they are not the dogs for beginners. Dogs of this size and type have the potential to be a danger to others if not well socialized at an early age, and are recommended only for the experienced dog handler who has the time to socialize and train the dog. They mature slowly, are very independent, and often do not respond to traditional force methods of dog obedience training. They are extremely territorial and will protect the sheep, households, and families they feel were placed under their protection. They are not aggressive but protective and are said to get along quite well with children.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Health

Little data exists for health problems in this breed. However, when bred to be very oversize, they may be subject to hip dysplasia, and dogs with deep chests sometimes suffer from bloat.

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